Joseph Arthur Interview
Band: Joseph Arthur
Sat Apr 22 04:37:18 2006
by Daniel Bristow
At 7:30p.m here in the UK it's half-two in the afternoon over in New York, where artistic virtuoso Joseph Arthur is on the other end of a phone talking to RoomThirteen. He's a man of ubiquity at the moment and R13 have taken it upon themselves to briefly draw all the current aspects of his life and work together and find out a bit more about what's on offer and what's to come... Enjoy.
R13: Hi Joseph, how are you?
JA: Fine, thank you, how are you?
R13: Very well thanks... So, you seem to be a very busy and multitalented man, how do you go about juggling all the things you've got going on at the moment?
JA: Um, I don't know... I find myself wanting much more to shut down lately actually, so, I don't know, that's a good question... I'm still looking for the answer to that one.
R13: Well, your song 'In The Sun' forms the basis for a Foundation providing relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, how does it feel to be involved in an endeavour like that?
JA: I'm really happy to be involved, yeah definitely...
R13: To work alongside Michael Stipe and Chris Martin too...?
JA: Oh yeah, it feels really good (laughs), yeah I don't know, I can't really... It just feels really good yeah, really great...
R13: So, from what you've seen of the devastation that the hurricane's wreaked, how do you feel towards it, and helping in some way?
JA: What do I think about the hurricane? Well, what does anybody think about a hurricane? What do you think about the hurricane? It sucks you know. Yeah... It's definitely good to be involved in [the relief effort], I'm glad I got the opportunity to do something that is helpful...
R13: You'll be receiving an ASCAP College Vanguard Award for it, how have you reacted to this news?
JA: I guess I'll think about that more when I'm at that place. It's nice you know, but kind of abstract now...
R13: Talking of abstract; you've also recently had an art exhibition in London; did you get a good response to that?
JA: Yeah, I think it was really cool, there were a lot of people that showed up and it was a lot of fun to put the show on. I've never really done it before, over there, so I liked it.
R13: And now you've a book of artwork coming out in late May, can you tell us any more about that?
JA: Yeah, the book's gonna have a mostly-instrumental CD with it as well, called 'The Invisible Parade', which is like a soundtrack to the book, so it's really a sort of unique project.
R13: Sounds exciting. Alike to your live show, which is one of the most exciting you can go to at the moment, where did all your ideas come from? Any particular inspirations you'd wish to cite?
JA: Um, well, a long time ago when I first started touring, this guy named Paul Ridout gave me the idea of playing with loops, that was, I think, about almost ten years ago. I've been touring a long time and I'm also a painter, so... One time before I was touring I wanted to keep painting in my apartment, but I had to go on tour, so I decided to bring that out on the road with me. It just comes from being open to different inspirations and feeling brave to try things that aren't just everyday and common...
R13: And recording the gigs and selling the CDs after shows, that's a real bonus for the fans.
JA: Yeah, that was an idea that Peter Gabriel gave me actually, a long time ago, and then I was reminded, and we started doing it. But I think now it's becoming more and more a common thing.
R13: So, in relation to your album, the first song is called 'In Ohio', which is where you come from. Now living in New York, do you still see Ohio as home?
JA: Yeah, I guess so. I've been there recently and I think it always feels like home. I spent my whole childhood in the same house there so yeah, it feels like home still. But I mean, Brooklyn feels like home now, New York feels like home, as I've been living here ten years now, or so. But I guess I feel at home in a lot of different places really, I used to live in London for about a year, so I kind of feel at home there, I feel at home in LA, I guess I just feel at home whenever I'm there. But sometimes I feel like an alien...
R13: Do you draw inspiration from the places that you're in?
JA: I think you do yeah, I think unknowingly you do, you don't really think about it while you're there, but I think that does happen.
R13: Now, what more can we expect from the unstoppable Joseph Arthur in the near future?
JA: Well, let's see, I'm working on a new record, which is getting quite close to being done, and I'm excited about this book and this instrumental CD, I'm excited about that. That's about it I guess...
R13: And you're coming back to the UK in June...
JA: Yeah, playing the Queen Elizabeth Hall, I played there one time, a long time ago...
R13: Do you have any favourite countries to tour, any places you love playing?
JA: Not necessarily, but lately I've been really liking playing in the UK, but I don't really have a favourite place. Though touring America is good, you end up driving over the whole country and you have full freedom you know...
Full freedom. If there's any man who represents that notion artistically and aesthetically in today's culture then it is Mr. Joseph Arthur. Providing the most compelling live shows you're likely ever to witness, producing some of the best music committed to record that you can get your hands on at the moment, all whilst painting one of the greatest masterpieces of music and art today, over a backdrop populated with staid convention and genre-led generics. Keep your eye on Joseph Arthur, he moves fast, but is the hottest tip that just can't be topped.
Joseph Arthur's book 'We Almost Made It' will be released in late May.
for more information.
Source: This way, please.